I’ve talked about cast iron cookware before. I think it’s fantastic. For certain types of food (many types of food), it cooks fantastically, requires very little cleanup, and is incredibly durable and affordable.
Which leads me to my latest acquisition: the Lodge cast iron muffin pan. This is a curious item. I’m mainly writing this because there is not a lot of information about it outside of the reviews for it on Amazon. So I figured I’d put up my thoughts for others.
The short version: It’s a great pan which is incredibly easy to clean and turns out great muffins.
Briefly, the pan’s model number is L5P3. That’s what it says on the Lodge website, it’s what it says on Amazon, and it’s what it says on the info tag that came with the pan. It is not what bottom of the pan says. Cast into the bottom surface is ‘L5P2’. This was not a fluke; I bought a second one which looks exactly the same. I don’t know what the story is here—I’ve not written Lodge to get the deets.
Which leads me to the next topic. Many of the Amazon reviews claim that this is a small pan. It is. The muffin slots are pretty small. Not quite mini muffins, but not far off. I bought two because one was too small for a box of Jiffy muffins (corn or blueberry). I personally think a box of those is good for about 10 muffins of this size, so I bought a second pan and do 5 muffins in each. I’ve yet to adjust a homemade muffin recipe, not that I have one, to perfectly fit the two pans.
Between it’s weight and small size, there really isn’t a great place to grab the pan when it comes out of the oven. I’ve taken to using the empty sixth muffin slot as a place for my thumb to go when I grab it.
The pan is small and nests neatly with itself if you have multiples. It is heavy.
Cooking with it
The first time I cooked with it, I made a mess. Then I figured out what to do. Of course you should do the normal light wash, dry, oil, and bake in the oven when you first get it.
- Preheat the oven with the pan in it. When it gets to temperature and the batter is ready, pull out the pan.
- Wipe/smear/brush some butter in the muffin slots of the hot pan.
- Fill each slot with the batter to about 2/3rds full.
I find I bake about 2 minutes less than what the box says in my oven. I’m sure all ovens are different, but remember the muffins get a quick start due to preheating of the pan.
With the preheating and buttering steps, the muffins literally drop out of the pan right out of the oven. Sometimes you need to nudge the top with your finger. Hardly any cleanup is required. For the buttering, I’ve dropped shavings into the hot pan and slid them around, but I prefer to just heat up a tiny bit in a mini cast iron skillet on the stovetop, and then brush it in the pans with a silicone brush. Since it’s just butter in the skillet, I just wipe it out with a paper towel and don’t really spend anytime cleaning it. The muffin pan only requires a tiny swipe with a sponge in the sink, then it’s dry, oil, and back into storage.
I’ll keep this brief. The bottom/sides of the muffins come out really nice and crispy, particularly if you brush a bit of butter in the preheated pan before you bake. Much better than standard muffins.
I also like the fact that they are smaller. It’s a good size to eat 1 or 2 and save some for later.
All in all, if you like cast iron and muffins, these are a cool purchase. A bit pricy, but not too bad. It can also double as a door stop, an implement of self defense, or anything else that a several pound weight would come in handy.